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Frank Snowden Jr. was a Classics professor and scholar who studied the lives of Black people during the Classical Antiquity period in Ancient Greece and Rome. During his study, Snowden suggested that Black people didn’t suffer rampant racism and slavery as they did in the United States.

Snowden was born July 17, 1911 in York County, Va. He earned both his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from Harvard University, and then began teaching the Classics at Atlanta University. One of his colleagues was W.E.B. Du Bois. In 1940, Snowden joined the faculty of Howard University, remaining there until his retirement in 1976 and chairing the Classics department along with its College of Liberal Arts department.

After retirement, Snowden was named Professor Emeritus and taught in other institutions, while also producing a number of written works. His most notable books are 1970’s “Blacks In Antiquity,” and 1983’s “Before Color Prejudice.”

In Snowden’s research, he felt that Greeks and Romans encountered Black people during the era who were statesmen, mercenaries, and proud warriors, not slaves. In fact, whites were largely enslaved during Classical Antiquity. Snowden’s work uncovered a new field of study, however some historians believe he romanticized the period due to a desire to remove the specter of bigotry faced by Blacks in America.

Snowden passed in 2007 at the age of 95.


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